Written by Kasia Pająk

CEDEFOP together with EUROFOUND (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) published a report forecasting the demand for skills and occupations in the next twelve years.

As the report points out, although Europe has not yet fully recovered from the last financial crisis, 2017 was the fifth year in a row with GDP growth. The rate of economic growth for the EU (28 countries) by 2020 is estimated at 1.8% of GDP, then it is expected to slow down to 1.4%.

The average age of employees is expected to increase, similarly - the employment rate will experience a modest increase in all of Europe. The largest increase in employment will take place in the services sector, while a decline in the number of employees will be the most noticeable in manufacturing.

The expected employment trends will drive a polarisation of the labour market. A significant increase in employment for highly qualified people (managers, experts and people supporting expert teams) will go hand in hand with a reduction of jobs in industries made up of occupations requiring only basic qualifications and medium-level skills, such as agriculture or direct sales. The report also indicates that this polarisation is having an impact on the changing the nature of work in Europe. Work is becoming more autonomous, less mechanical, but increasingly based on communication and the latest technological developments. Its nature is less physical, based more on performing social tasks and requiring creativity.

The report points out the tension between the labour supply and demand in Europe in the context of the education of young people. Many indicators show that young people have an overqualified educational background in relation to the market demand - this, in turn, involves the need to retrain, but also, e.g., the need to reform education systems or promote solutions that enable vocational education and training to adapt to the needs of the labour market.

The "Skills forecast: trends and challenges to 2030" report with data visualisations can be found on the CEDEFOP website.